April Fool's weekend was no joke this year…

But seriously, it was hectic. I took a major step in my life that is marked as the second biggest decision in my time on Earth. Right behind giving my life to Christ, is taking a bride. And on April 2, 2016, I asked Ms. Emily Laine Otness to be my bride, and sure enough, she said YES!

It was a Saturday. There was adventure. There was romance. There was joy. There was goodness. It was wonderful. 

Both of my best friends flew in to celebrate the occasion with us, which made it that much more special. The investment that both of them made, and the sacrifices to be by my side will never go unnoticed! There is no way to repay such selflessness and love. Words cannot express my gratitude. Erik got in on Thursday, and Alex on Saturday. My only complaint is that neither of them could stay around longer! 

Last fall was the first time that Emily expressed her heart’s desire to be proposed to at the lighthouse at Lake Hefner. If I remember correctly, it was within the first days of our relationship, definitely less than a month in. Really a hasty declaration on her part. We were driving by the lake one day, and she nonchalantly blurts out “Hey! That’s where I am getting engaged!”

Oh? Is it? At that point in time, I was still trying to figure out how to say words around her because I was so caught up in wanting to impress her! Needless to say, it was an intimidating statement so early on.

Just as she had said those months ago, I proposed at the lighthouse on Lake Hefner. It was simple. It was traditional. It was exactly what Emily wanted, which made it exactly what I wanted. The celebration at Mama Roja’s, though delayed, was equally as good.

Reflecting back on our 8 months of dating and the year of knowing Emily but not really knowing her, holds many adventures. And yet it still seems so juvenile in the grand scheme of things. We are aiming at a lifetime together. We are aiming to know each other better than we know ourselves. We are aiming to serve, love and champion one another in a way that no one else will. We are aiming to love Jesus and through knowing Him, humbly put each other before ourselves. We are aiming for sanctification, and it is as if we just got the weapon to begin fully taking aim.

When I think about dating Emily, there is really only one thing on my mind, and that is Jesus. She fights and desires to know the Lord with all of her being. She stands in His presence and weeps lowly at His feet. How she has decided to follow Jesus is inspiring, convicting, beautiful and encouraging. Through these past months, I have been given insight into the deepest parts of her heart. She has opened up to me and processed things with me that she would have normally taken to other outlets. She is all around incredible. I am obviously in love.

That being said, I am also in no way, shape or form mistaken when it comes to this woman I love. The foundation of our relationship is Jesus. He is the solid rock on which we stand. I do not stand on her ability, I do not stand on how incredible she is, and I do not stand on thinking she will save me. There has already been times in our relationship where our weaknesses take the driver’s seat and we hurt one another. Naivety says that marriage will not have those same challenges. Wisdom says, however, that we will hurt one another, and our brokenness will pierce each other. That is why we must lean on the perfection of a Savior, and not the brokenness of an idol in our hearts. 

Two weeks into a 7 month engagement, I am already seeing the need for repentance. My heart has been prideful and not as loving. The choices that I make now effect more than just my life. My words hold a new weight. These pressures are not things that I can bear alone. They are things that I need to transparently submit to my Savior. Two weeks in, and the beautiful ways in which Emily and I were made are being put to the test as we learn hot to serve and love each other in engagement. Sure, we know how we function by ourselves, but now we have to learn how the other functions in a new season, and how to honor that! Needless to say, it’s all a big beautiful mess.

My heart wants to need Emily. It would be really easy to place all of my eggs in her basket, and to give her the weight of everything in my life. But she is not going to save me. Sure, there will be times in our marriage where she will encourage me, love me, and be my biggest fan. However, these are things that the Father already does for me every day. I need Jesus. I need Abba Father. I need the Holy Spirit. I don’t need Emily. I want her. I chose her. She is worth it to me! In that, I will seek to know her, to love her, to challenge her, to take her on adventures, to cherish her, to encourage her, to tell her who she is, and to point her back to Jesus. Our love is rooted in the truth of the cross, and in that truth we are free to be one!

I look forward to the road ahead with Emily Laine.